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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who is Surescripts?

Our purpose is to serve the nation with the single most trusted and capable health information network. Since 2001, Surescripts has led the movement to turn health data into actionable intelligence to increase patient safety, lower costs and ensure quality care. Visit us at www.surescripts.com and follow us at twitter.com/surescripts.

Who owns Surescripts?

Surescripts is privately owned by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), CVS Health and Express Scripts.

Where is Surescripts located?

Surescripts is headquarted in Arlington, VA and maintains additional offices in Minneapolis, MN, Portland, OR and Raleigh, NC.

What is the Surescripts Network Alliance™?

Organizations from across the healthcare marketplace help make Surescripts solutions valuable for all who participate. We call this powerful collaboration the Surescripts Network Alliance.

Who is part of the Surescripts Network Alliance™?

All Surescripts customers and end-users are part of the Surescripts Network Alliance. This includes virtually all electronic health records (EHRs), pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmacies and clinicians, plus an increasing number of health plans, long-term and post-acute care organizations, and specialty pharmacy organizations.

How can I join the Surescripts Network Alliance™?

If your organization uses any Surescripts solution, you're already part of the Surescripts Network Alliance—welcome! If you aren't yet connected to Surescripts, contact us to learn more.

What makes the Surescripts Network Alliance™ unique?

As the nation's largest health information network, the Surescripts Network Alliance connects an array of participants from across the healthcare marketplace that's unprecedented in both size and scope. Combined with our broad portfolio of solutions, these connections put us in a unique position to effectively enhance prescribing, inform care decisions and advance healthcare for all.

In addition to our solutions, participants access three core elements unique to the Surescripts Network Alliance: our Intelligence Enablers, our Trust, Quality & Reliability initiatives and our Governance best practices. Click here to learn more about these elements.

How do Surescripts solutions enhance prescribing?

The Surescripts Network Alliance enhances prescribing by collectively enabling safer and more affordable prescriptions. Four primary Surescripts solution areas work together to enhance prescribing.

  • E-Prescribing gives healthcare professionals in all care settings safer and more efficient electronic prescription management.
  • Benefit Optimization delivers real-time, patient-specific benefit, price and therapeutic alternative information to the point of care so that prescribers and patients can choose a medication that is both clinically appropriate and affordable.
  • Prior Authorization provides a seamless, real-time, electronic prior authorization workflow that may be quickly completed during the office visit.
  • Finally, we're applying our e-prescribing expertise to deliver tools that simplify the prescribing process for Specialty Medications.

Click here to learn more about how Surescripts enhances prescribing.

How do Surescripts solutions inform care decisions?

Surescripts informs care decisions by arming healthcare professionals with actionable patient intelligence. Four primary Surescripts solution areas work together to inform care decisions.

  • Medication History gives a more complete and accurate picture of patients' medication history for better informed, more efficient and safer care decisions.
  • Clinical History gives clinicians quick insight into a patient's care history across locations, providers and EHRs, improving care delivery, quality and efficiency.
  • Clinical Direct Messaging lets pharmacists and clinicians seamlessly send and receive information across multiple care collaboration scenarios.
  • Insights & Alerts provide actionable patient intelligence at the point of care to address adherence issues and improve patient outcomes while reducing costs.

Click here to learn more about how Surescripts informs care decisions.

How is Surescripts advancing healthcare?

Surescripts convenes experts and workgroups from across the Surescripts Network Alliance and partners with leading industry organizations and standards bodies to advance healthcare through research, analysis, education and advocacy.

Visit our news center to learn more about how Surescripts is advancing healthcare.

What is Surescripts doing to combat the opioid epidemic?

We are taking action against this public health crisis through a combination of technology, education and public policy.

Several Surescripts solutions can directly enhance prescribing and inform care decisions around opioids to help curb fraud and abuse. E-Prescribing customers can access complete medication histories from within the e-prescribing workflow to spot any medications that could adversely interact with a new opioid prescription. Record Locator & Exchange helps prescribers quickly identify any care patterns that might impact the decision to prescribe opioids, while Clinical Direct Messaging lets them contact other clinicians for more information on any red flags they observe.

Once a prescriber decides opioids are the right treatment option, Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) eliminates opportunities to alter or divert a paper prescription. And once the patient leaves the office, Insights for Medication Adherence can help monitor that the prescription is being filled as intended.

See our Intelligence in Action portal for the latest news on our ongoing efforts to combat opioid abuse, including research and federal and state advocacy.

What is Surescripts doing to improve prescription accuracy?

The Surescripts Network Alliance continuously works to improve data quality for the benefit of every pharmacist, prescriber and patient.

Surescripts Sentinel™ monitors and analyzes the electronic prescriptions that cross our network and identifies opportunities to improve their accuracy. In 2017, we measured a 26% improvement in e-prescription accuracy by optimizing the e-prescribing process across five key elements: Drug Description, Representative National Drug Code (NDC), RxNorm, Structured and Codified Sig and Potency Unit Code. We also launched the Surescripts White Coat Award™, which recognizes EHRs and health systems contracted with Surescripts that have taken meaningful steps to improve e-prescription accuracy.

See our Intelligence in Action portal for updates on our work to improve prescription accuracy.

What is Surescripts doing to advance healthcare interoperability?

A truly interoperable network is required to provide actionable patient intelligence that leads to better healthcare decisions. Accordingly, interoperability is a major focus for Surescripts. We started with E-Prescribing, but today our entire portfolio of solutions supports the interoperability goals of the nation. Among other interoperability initiatives, Surescripts is a founding member of the Sequoia Project’s Carequality collaborative and DirectTrust, which supports secure, interoperable health information exchange via the Direct message protocols.

See our Intelligence in Action portal for news on our interoperability efforts.

What is the Surescripts Critical Performance Improvement program?

The Critical Performance Improvement program aims to improve the quality of the e-prescriptions flowing through the Surescripts network. Program initiatives include prescription accuracy, process improvements, adoption acceleration and directory integrity.

Who participates in the Critical Performance Improvement program?

We regularly convene more than 200 stakeholders from across the Surescripts Network Alliance to identify, plan and execute 11 critical performance improvements to enhance patient safety and workflow efficiency.

What is Surescripts doing to support the development of industry standards?

We help set industry standards by serving in numerous National Council for Prescription Drug Plans leadership roles, and more than 35 committees, including the Standardization Work Group and Work Group 11.

What information does Surescripts store?

Surescripts stores basic demographic information, provided by healthcare providers, for purposes of patient matching and identification. Patient demographics include:

  • Patient ID / Medical Record Number
  • Patient name: First, middle, last, prefix, suffix
  • Patient Address line 1 & 2
  • Patient city, state, zip
  • Patient date of birth
  • Patient gender
If a patient has chosen to opt-out of NRLS, this demographic information will still be stored in the Surescripts database in order to ensure information is not exchanged through NRLS.
Surescripts does not store clinical records. Clinical records are stored and maintained by healthcare providers. Surescripts simply provides secure electronic transmission of records between providers.

What steps does Surescripts take to ensure patient privacy and security?

During the admission process, patient consent and HIPAA notification are standard processes, especially for purposes of treatment, healthcare operations, or payment. All queries and responses are made automatically through secured system to system communications. The response is returned to a patient record in a clinical setting and role based security determines which personnel have access to the information. Surescripts also contractually requires all certified software vendors to follow local, state and federal level privacy and security requirements.

Is Surescripts HIPAA Compliant?

Surescripts is a HIPAA Business Associate and must comply with HIPAA Standards. At Surescripts, we are committed to respecting patients' rights to maintain the privacy of their health information and ensuring appropriate security of all protected health information.

How does Surescripts safeguard personal health information?

Protecting the security and confidentiality of personal health information is of extreme importance to Surescripts. To read how we go about this, check out our privacy policy.

How can I get involved in driving e-prescribing adoption and use?

Many state-supported e-prescribing pilot programs are designed to help contain the rising costs of state-funded Medicaid programs. Other state initiatives focus more broadly on developing programs to accelerate the adoption of e-prescribing and EHRs and models to leverage regional health information organizations (RHIOs).

E-prescribing is generally addressed in two different ways on the state level. First, via a targeted approach where legislation provides incentives for adoption and use of e-prescribing, or creating demonstration projects to assess the financial and efficiency gains of e-prescribing. Second, legislative approaches sometimes roll e-prescribing requirements into larger health reform bills.

Surescripts can help support your efforts to promote e-prescribing with important data and information for presentations. Click here to request more information

Why is Surescripts uniquely positioned to support clinical information exchange?

Surescripts has more than a decade of experience developing a nationwide network to enable electronic prescribing and facilitate the secure exchange of health information.  Through the Surescripts network, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others can communicate with each other like a team, sharing information to reduce errors, improve efficiency, and save money.

Today, Surescripts connects nearly 1 million healthcare professionals, more than 3,000 hospitals, and more than 700 software applications, providing the ability to exchange critical information on more than 230 million patients. Surescripts is uniquely positioned to leverage our assets and extract more value from our network to improve the patient and provider experience. We’re using our unique experience as the nation’s e-prescription network® and building on it to exchange massive amounts of health information, including medication histories, prior authorizations and other complex clinical messages.

What is the process for registering or updating a prescriber within the Surescripts Directory (Admin Console)?

Whether registering a prescriber for the first time or updating an existing prescriber listing, directory listings are a shared resource on the Surescripts network and it is very important that listings remain consistent and accurate. Our experience with directory management has shown that when information is incorrect, this can lead to future problems experienced by both the prescriber and pharmacies they wish to communicate with such has faxed refill renewal requests and misrouted prescriptions. The following is a best practice approach to properly registering a prescriber within the Surescripts Admin Console to participate in e-prescribing.

Most importantly, Surescripts recommends that the prescriber name be represented as it would in a legal or contract style document. Surescripts currently uses the NPI Registry through NPPES to review, and in questions of discrepancy, be the bases of the directory listing. Surescripts also recommends the address utilize the USPS standard address.

Available fields and descriptions:

FAQ-table

(*) Represents those that are REQUIRED fields

What types of clinical messages can be carried through the Surescripts network?

In addition to prescription information, the Surescripts network allows doctors to share an array of clinical messages required to manage the care of patients. This includes, but is not limited to: discharge and visit summaries, patient charts, referrals, lab orders and results.

What is the status of electronic prescribing for controlled substances?

Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) is legal nationwide.

The Surescripts national health information network connects pharmacies, healthcare providers, and software companies serving all care settings – ambulatory, acute, post-acute, long term, and specialty.  Integrating electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) within existing technology and workflow requires action from everyone. Join Surescripts in the collaborative effort. Visit www.surescripts.com/EPCS to get started.

What is Surescripts certification?

To access Surescripts’ services, a prescriber, pharmacy and PBM must use software that has completed the Surescripts certification process. This process validates that the software is able to send and receive electronic messages in accordance with industry standards and that it is providing open choice for medication selection and dispensing location.

Surescripts certifies software used by prescribers, pharmacies and payers/PBMs for access to three core services: Prescription Benefit, Medication History and Prescription Routing. Starting in 2009, Surescripts also introduced a Clinical Messaging service, allowing clinical information to be exchanged between healthcare clinics and physicians.

Certification concentrates on message format and workflow. The software vendor seeking certification is responsible for modifying/building the electronic prescribing application in accordance with the Surescripts Implementation Guides and qualitative requirements. Surescripts provides documentation and testing tools for the software vendor and conducts certification to ensure all the requirements are met. The software vendor is responsible for development, testing, and QA of its application.

I am interested in certifying my software system to connect to Surescripts for e-prescribing. What do I need to do to begin this process?

Please complete the following form to initiate this process. Be sure to complete all fields or the form cannot be submitted. Once this has been received a Surescripts representative will follow-up with you regarding next steps.

How long will it take to certify my system with Surescripts?

On average it can take a vendor 3-6 months to complete certification, however, Surescripts cannot estimate how long it will take an individual vendor to complete certification as it is dependent on the individual time and resources the vendor is able to put behind their own certification.

What is identity proofing?

Identity proofing, also known as ID proofing, is the process of verifying that a person is who he or she claims to be. ID proofing is a common practice across industries, including such common tasks as renewing a driver's license, securing new employment, or opening a bank account. Identity proofing, including both in-person and remote ID proofing, is critically important as the first step for the secure electronic exchange of health information.

There are a number of reasons EHR vendors and aggregators should ensure the identity of their customers:

  • Growing public concern regarding privacy and security of personal health information;
  • Industry best practices for information security;
  • Refusal by business partners to conduct business;
  • Legal implications under federal and state laws; and
  • Possible breach of contract liability and suspension of services under a connectivity agreement with Surescripts.

What does Surescripts require of its EHR vendors and aggregators?

As a Surescripts network participant, you have legal obligations that require you, as a vendor, to ensure that your customers are (1) who they claim to be; and (2) authorized by law to access and use the type of information for which access is granted (e.g., for e-prescribing or sending/receiving clinical information).

Is Surescripts certification sufficient for ID proofing?

Currently, Surescripts certification does not address identity proofing, so additional measures must be taken to ensure the security of all vendor applications.

What are the best practices for ID proofing?

There are varying methods for ensuring a person's identity and how much confidence (or assurance) one can place in the identity proofing process.  The more robust the process, the greater assurance there is that the person is who they claim to be.  The U.S. government and other parties have set four levels of assurance, Assurance Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

While there is no single standard for ID proofing for e-prescribing, Surescripts encourages all EHR vendors to target at least Assurance Level 2 and consider industry best practices to ensure the security of all participants on our network.

Surescripts does not dictate the mechanism or manner by which EHR vendors and aggregators choose to implement identity proofing processes that best suit their business model.

How can I prescribe electronically over the Surescripts network?

Physicians interested in e-prescribing must use e-prescribing software or an Electronic Health Record (EHR) that has been certified to connect to the Surescripts network.

If your practice already has an EHR system, it is likely that your system has been certified by Surescripts. You simply need to contact your vendor representative and ask about getting connected to the Surescripts network.

If you do not yet have an EHR or e-prescribing software in your practice, you will need to acquire a solution that fits your practice needs. A comprehensive list of e-prescribing technologies that have been certified by Surescripts is available on our web site.

How can I send clinical messages over the Surescripts network?

Physicians are able to exchange clinical messages over the Surescripts network if their EHR vendor, HIE or HISP is connected to the Surescripts network. In addition, providers affiliated with EHNAC/DirectTrust accredited* organizations can exchange clinical messages with Surescripts users as a result of participation in the EHNAC/DirectTrust accredication program (DTAAP). Click here for a list of organizations connected to the Surescripts network for Clinical Network Services.

What is the difference between Surescripts and my e-prescribing/EHR software vendor?

 Surescripts does not sell, develop, or endorse e-prescribing or EHR software. Instead, Surescripts works with existing medical software companies to certify their prescribing software for access to the Surescripts network. This enables you to choose the software that best suits the needs of your practice. Additionally, Surescripts works with EHR vendors to implement clinical messaging services.

How will a connection to the Surescripts network benefit my practice?

Surescripts’ services are ultimately designed to improve care outcomes, increase efficiency, and reduce healthcare costs by connecting care providers and enabling broad health information exchange within communities and across the country. Collaboration is crucial to achieving intelligent healthcare, where doctors and patients can make the most informed decisions and, in doing so, improve health outcomes and decrease costs.

Are there transaction fees for physicians who e-prescribe?

There are no transaction fees for prescribers to access or use the networking services provided by Surescripts.

However, prescribers must use an electronic prescribing system that is certified to connect to the Surescripts network before they can send and receive prescription information. A practice may be using a certified application already or it may need to acquire a new certified application. Costs for these systems are set by the companies that provide them. Systems that are certified to connect to the Surescripts network range from simple electronic prescribing software to full-featured EMR systems.

The only time your practice would incur transaction fees for e-prescribing would be if the vendor you select charged your practice a transaction fee. Most vendors do not charge practices a transaction fee, but be sure to ask your potential vendors about this during system selection.

Prescribers can check to see if their electronic prescribing system is certified by clicking here.

I want to send an e-prescription to a pharmacy that I cannot locate in my e-prescribing/EHR application. What should I do?

You can search for e-prescribing enabled pharmacies by using the search feature located at the top of every page on our website. If a pharmacy that you are you are not able to locate within your e-prescribing/EHR application is listed as enabled for e-prescribing on the Surescripts website, this may indicate that your pharmacy directory is incomplete or outdated. 

We recommend that all certified vendors pull partial directory updates on a nightly basis from Surescripts and provide these updates to their customers with 24 hours. Vendors should also pull a complete directory update at least once per week and provide this data to their customers within 24 hours.

Once the vendor has pulled a directory update from Surescripts they may automatically push the update to their customer or may require the customer to obtain the updated directory information. Please work with your e-prescribing/EHR vendor to understand how pharmacy directory updates are received into your e-prescribing/EHR application.

Can I reply to a faxed prescription renewal request with a new e-prescription?

Yes - although this process can make it difficult for pharmacies to match the new prescription order to the original request. As a result the pharmacy may send a duplicate renewal request or follow-up with a phone call to your office to ensure that the request is responded to. To prevent this from happening, please place a note on your new e-prescription that states that the prescription is a response to a separate renewal request and include the original prescription number. E.g.) "Relates to Rx#123456" or "Relates to faxed Rx#123456"

Remember, any request for a controlled substance must be responded to in accordance with DEA requirements. And, if you feel that you are getting a significant number of faxed requests from pharmacies that should be sending them to your practice electronically, please report them to your vendor.

Why do some pharmacies send me faxes even though I use electronic prescribing software?

Although in most circumstances electronic prescribing can replace voice and paper-based communications with a totally electronic process, there are exceptions.

1. Have you sent at least 5 new prescriptions electronically?

Pharmacies will begin sending refill requests electronically once a prescriber sends at least five new prescriptions electronically via the Surescripts network. This is to help ensure that your practice has been trained on your e-prescribing orEMRsystem and is ready to receive and respond to refill requests electronically.

Additionally, the pharmacies need time to update their prescriber directories once they recognize that you are using your system to send new prescriptions electronically. The amount of time varies by pharmacy.

2. Is the pharmacy that faxed the refill request enabled for e-prescribing?

More than 91% of the nation's pharmacies are enabled for e-prescribing. However, pharmacies that are not yet enabled for e-prescribing will continue to fax refill requests to you. You can search for e-prescribing enabled pharmacies by using the search feature located at the top of every page on our web site.

3. Is the renewal request from a mail order pharmacy?

Although six of the largest mail order pharmacies are connected to the Surescripts network, not all e-prescribing software vendors are certified to process prescription renewal requests electronically from mail-order pharmacies. You can search for e-prescribing enabled pharmacies by using the search feature located at the top of every page on our web site.

4. Have you been responding to renewal requests within the last 24 hours?

To help ensure that patients' refill requests are processed in a timely manner, some pharmacies will automatically fax a duplicate refill request if they do not hear back from you within 24 hours.

5. Is your demographic information complete in the Surescripts Directory?

Pharmacies rely on the Surescripts directory to identify various locations where prescribers can receive Electronic Renewal Requests. If your information is incomplete or does not include all physical address locations at which you can receive renewals, pharmacies may assume you cannot e-prescribe, or cannot e-prescribe at that location, and will therefore send you a fax. Surescripts provides an online search tool that you can utilize to review your information. Your prescriber record should match the information found on your prescription forms. If it does not match, please contact your e-prescribing or EMR technology vendor to have this information corrected through your normal support desk process.

Finally, there is the chance that your individual prescriber record did not get updated correctly in the pharmacies' systems. This should be reported to your e-prescribing/EMR software vendor as soon as possible so that the pharmacies can be contacted and the problem can be investigated.  Be prepared to provide specific examples of the faxed renewal requests so a support ticket can be generated for proper research and resolution at the pharmacy level.

Download our Best Practices for the Provider Renewal Workflow

What should I do if a patient or pharmacy calls and reports that they did not receive a prescription that I sent to them electronically?

Although the vast majority of e-prescriptions are dispensed without incident, issues such as mishandled prescriptions may occur from time to time.

Possible Causes:

  • A technical issue with your electronic prescribing software, the pharmacy computer system, or network connectivity may have caused you to receive an error message on the prescription's transmission.
  • The prescription may have arrived to the pharmacy's fax machine instead of their computer. Reasons can include the medication being a controlled substance, a temporary loss of network connectivity, or the fact that the pharmacy is not yet enabled for e-prescribing.
  • The prescription may have been successfully received but put "on hold" due to an out-of-stock medication, an interruption during dispensing, or other issue. A simple miscommunication between staff members to the patient or to your office may have reported it as "not received".
  • If the pharmacy is inexperienced with e-prescribing, the staff member may not have adequately checked their pharmacy system for the successfully delivered prescription.


What to do:

  1. To ensure that the patient's needs are taken care of, provide the pharmacy with the verbal order for the prescription so it can be dispensed immediately.
  2. Review your e-prescribing system for any errors that may indicate the prescription was not successfully delivered and that it was addressed to the correct pharmacy.
  3. If the prescription was successfully delivered, ask the pharmacy to ensure that, in the future, they review their computer system, their fax machine, and all points within their workflow before calling for a verbal order.
  4. Report the incident to your e-prescribing software vendor so that they can open a support case on your behalf which will help reduce the chance of a future occurrence.

What should I do if I receive an error message that my electronic prescription didn’t go through to the pharmacy?

If an electronic prescription is sent to a pharmacy that is not setup for e-prescribing, the Rx will automatically be sent by fax to the pharmacy if your EHR vendor subscribes to the Surescripts fax directory (please check with your vendor to see if they subscribe). For all others circumstances, and dependent upon the urgency of the Rx, we suggest calling the pharmacy and arranging an alternate process for sending the Rx.

We strongly advise you to contact/log a case with your prescriber technology/EHR vendor to report these errors and follow-up to ensure they’re resolved.

Does electronic prescribing offer the patient advantages?

For patients, an important advantage of a prescription being sent electronically is that the message is already formatted in such a way that the pharmacy computer can assimilate the information for rapid dispensing. You also have the comfort of knowing that an accurate, legible prescription will arrive at the pharmacy and that it won't get lost, misplaced, destroyed or forgotten by the patient. Plus, patients can avoid making one trip to the pharmacy to drop off a prescription and another to pick it up.

Is the information sent to the pharmacy sold or shared with any third party?

No. Information sent over the Surescripts network is private and confidential. It is not shared with any third party.

If an e-prescribing physician leaves the practice should he or she notify you of their change in employment?

The physician should communicate this change to his/her software vendor. The vendor will disable the prescriber's record in the Surescripts Directory so that no additional prescription renewals will be sent to the prescriber from pharmacies. Any additional new prescriptions sent by this prescriber would be returned in error by Surescripts.

Who should I contact if I am having technical problems with my e-prescribing/EMR system?

Your e-prescribing/EMR vendor representative should always be your point of contact for technical support. If at any time your vendor believes Surescripts assistance is needed they will contact Surescripts on your behalf. They should never instruct you to contact Surescripts directly.

Does Surescripts provide my e-prescribing application’s drug database?

Surescripts plays no role in providing a drug database, or facilitating the provision of drug database information within e-prescribing applications. E-prescribing software/EMR vendors typically hold a relationship with third-party database providers for this purpose. Please ask your e-prescribing/EMR vendor for more information on how your system receives and integrates the drug database information.

Can pharmacies send a message via the Surescripts network to the prescriber requesting authorization to make a change in the patient’s prescription or therapy?

Surescripts has enabled a new message type called Rx Change (RXCHG) that allows the pharmacy to send a message electronically to a prescriber to request authorization to make a change to a prescription. This is a feature that is part of a new version of the electronic prescribing standard created by NCPDP. Reach out to your e-prescribing/EHR software vendor for information with respect to the NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6 implementation/certification and ask if their software supports the Rx Change transaction.

Is there any notification that a prescriber can send if they want to cancel a patient’s therapy or e-prescription?

Yes. Surescripts has enabled a new message type called Cancel (CANRX) that allows the prescriber to send a message electronically to a pharmacy to cancel therapy on a previously prescribed medication or prescription. This feature is part of a new version of the electronic prescribing standard created by NCPDP. Reach out to your EHR vendor for information on their status with respect to "NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6 implementation/certification". You should also check with your software vendor to see if your system is capable of receiving and processing Cancel transactions.

How do I know if my software is certified, and what does that mean?

Surescripts does not develop, sell or endorse e-prescribing software but instead works with existing vendors to certify their technologies to connect to the Surescripts network. This process ensures that electronic prescribing solutions are able to send and receive supported electronic messages and that the solution is providing open choice for medication selection and dispensing location. Additionally, the process ensures that the technology systems work in accordance with industry-accepted standards for the electronic exchange of prescription data between physicians and pharmacies.

A complete list of certified pharmacy software systems can be found at the following link. If your pharmacy software is on this list and you are not yet enabled for e-prescribing, contact your vendor to request the e-prescribing functionality.

 

What is considered a “billable e-prescribing transaction”?

Surescripts charges a transaction fee to pharmacy vendors. In all cases, your pharmacy management system vendor determines what it charges your pharmacy. Surescripts does not set the price or billing structure charged by the vendor to their pharmacy customers. Surescripts charges vendors for the following transactions: new prescriptions, renewal responses, and two optional transactions-change requests and cancel transaction.

How do I update my pharmacy name, address, phone or fax number in your system?

Your pharmacy directory information is maintained directly by your pharmacy management system vendor. You will need to contact your vendor to have any updates applied. If your vendor requires any assistance in applying the updates, they will log a ticket with Surescripts on your behalf. If you need additional help after working with your vendor, we recommend you contact Surescripts Independent Pharmacy Help Line (IPL) at 1-877-877-3962.

An e-prescribing physician asked me for my EDI number. What does that mean?

The physician is asking for your NCPDP number. He or she likely wants to add your pharmacy into their e-prescribing application if you are capable of receiving e-prescriptions but not listed in their system.

Can compounding pharmacies, Long Term Care pharmacies, and Durable Medical Equipment (DME) companies become enabled for e-prescribing?

In order for a pharmacy or DME company to be connected for e-prescribing you must be using a certified pharmacy management system. Click here to see if your system has already completed certification with Surescripts. If you are already using a certified software system please contact your vendor for further information on becoming enabled for e-prescribing. If your software vendor is not yet certified, please contact them directly regarding their plans to become certified and allow their pharmacy customers to connect for e-prescribing.

Learn more about how Surescripts is serving the Long Term Care market.

How do I enable my pharmacy for e-prescribing via the Surescripts network?

If your pharmacy management system is certified to connect to the Surescripts network, you simply contact your pharmacy software vendor, ask them to enable your e-prescribing functionality, and specify that you want to be connected to the Surescripts network.

Pharmacies should ask their vendor:

  • If any patches or upgrades to their system are required.
  • If any amendments to their contract are needed to cover transaction fees
  • What training is provided to get accustomed to the new or upgraded system

Click here to see if your pharmacy software system has been certified by Surescripts.

 

What specific transactions can I conduct electronically via the Surescripts network using my pharmacy computer?

Your connection to the Surescripts network enables you to:

  • receive new prescriptions
  • send requests for prescription renewals
  • receive renewal approval or denial responses from prescribers
  • receive new prescriptions for controlled substances*
  • receive "cancel" transactions (CANRX) from prescribers*
  • send "change" transactions (RxCHANGE) to prescribers*

*This functionality may not be available in all pharmacy software applications. Please contact your pharmacy software vendor to ensure they are certified for and have implemented these transaction types. You may also need to update your software to ensure that your pharmacy management system is capable of these transactions.

I work for a chain pharmacy. How do I make sure prescription renewal requests are being sent electronically from our computer system to all connected prescribers in our area?

In order for a pharmacy to send a refill request electronically to a prescriber, the pharmacy must have the individual prescriber's SPI number matched correctly within their pharmacy management system.  If a prescriber contacts you stating that renewal requests from your store are arriving by fax, you likely need to update that prescriber's information in your database.  For a complete list of enabled prescribers and their SPI information please visit www.surescripts.com/spi.  Contact your chain headquarters' support desk to have the system updated to generate refill requests electronically to these prescribers.

Who should I contact for technical support related to e-prescribing?

Your customer relationship is with your pharmacy management software vendor, so please report all issues directly to them. As the experts on your pharmacy management software, the vendor is the best resource to troubleshoot the problem. If your vendor cannot determine the issue, they will report it to Surescripts. Once the issue is resolved, Surescripts will notify your vendor, who should then let you know that it’s been resolved.

How do I request a refund for duplicate e-prescriptions?

If you believe you have received inappropriate duplicate messages you will need to contact your vendor to determine their policy on how to report this issue and how to request a refund. Most vendors require documentation, so please be prepared to provide the specific occurrences of these duplicate messages for any reporting and/or research to take place. Surescripts will work with your vendor to determine why the duplicate messages occurred and to determine if a refund to your vendor is warranted. Any potential refunds to your pharmacy will be provided directly by your vendor - not by Surescripts.

When I attempt to transmit a renewal request to a prescriber I receive the error message: “Receiving partner does not support this message type.”

This indicates that the prescriber you are attempting to send to does not accept renewal requests. They only have the ability to transmit new prescriptions to your pharmacy. This could also be caused by attempting to transmit a renewal request to an outdated prescriber SPI number. Your pharmacy management system vendor is responsible for providing you with the necessary tools and training to maintain your prescriber directory and allow you to differentiate those prescribers that accept electronic renewal requests and those that do not accept them. If you think you have inaccurate information in your directories please contact your vendor.

Surescripts also maintains a list of e-prescribing enabled physicians and their corresponding SPI information for those that accept renewal requests at www.surescripts.com/SPI. This as a supplemental resource you can utilize along with the tools provided by your vendor to assist in maintaining your prescriber directory.

Note: When viewing the report on the Surescripts website, those prescribers that do not accept renewal requests are listed at the bottom of the report by name only. The pharmacy does not need the prescriber's SPI number loaded into their system to receive new prescriptions. The SPI is only needed to transmit renewal requests electronically.

When I send a renewal request to a prescriber they are denying it and sending it again as a new prescription “Denied, New to Follow”. Does this cause me to be billed twice and how do I prevent this from happening?

When a prescriber responds to a refill request he may change the following fields: number of refills, written date, notes in the response segment, and substitution. However, if the prescriber needs to make any other changes, a new prescription must be written. The "Denied, New to Follow" (DNTF) transaction allows the pharmacist to distinguish between instances when the prescriber will follow up with a new prescription versus simply denying a refill request; the DNTF transaction closes the loop and prevents the need for further phone calls or other communication.

While DNTF responses are appropriate in some circumstances, they are not always used as originally intended and may result in additional charges for single prescriptions. As of May 1, 2013, Surescripts no longer charges for DNTF response messages for both retail and mail order prescriptions.

What do I do if I receive a poor quality or miswritten electronic prescription?

Contact your pharmacy software vendor with examples of poor quality or miswritten electronic prescriptions. All electronic prescriptions are routed through your software vendor, therefore they will be able to investigate this and determine if it’s an issue with the EHR. If needed, they will log a case with Surescripts.

It is extremely important to report these cases to your pharmacy software vendor so that they can investigate and log a support case with Surescripts who then will research the matter and if needed contact the prescribers’ EHR vendor for further action and complete issue resolution.

Can I send a message via the Surescripts network to the prescriber requesting authorization to make a change in the patient’s prescription or therapy?

Surescripts has enabled a new message type called Rx Change (RXCHG) that allows the pharmacy to send a message electronically to a prescriber to request authorization to make a change to a prescription. This is a feature that is part of a new version of the electronic prescribing standard created by NCPDP. Reach out to your pharmacy software vendor for information with respect to the "NCPDP SCRIPT 10.6 implementation/certification" and ask if their software supports the Rx Change transaction.

How do I connect to the Surescripts network?

A mutual non-disclosure agreement and contract need to be in place. Then an implementation project is launched between your IT staff and the implementation managers at Surescripts. Industry approved transactions are certified from your system to our network. These transactions include membership loads, formulary loads, eligibility and prescription history transaction sets and electronic prescription transactions if you offer mail order services. Surescripts works with your IT staff to secure your connection to the Surescripts network.

What will this cost me?

There is an initial implementation fee that is charged to the payer that connects to Surescripts. The fee varies and is associated with the level of effort for the implementation project. You will pay a fee when Surescripts receives a request for prescription benefit, uniquely identifies your member and then sends a request for prescription benefit for that member to you. You will not pay for any prescription benefit requests that Surescripts is unable to uniquely identify as your member.

How does the Medication History for Reconciliation service work?

Surescripts Medication History for Reconciliation and ED Settings service provides real-time access to the largest set of medication claims and pharmacy fill data available, delivering a more complete picture of the patient at every step - from admission to discharge. This enables more informed treatment decisions across transitions of care, helping to reduce the patient risk of ADEs.

  1. History Request: Authorized Staff requests history
  2. Validated Request: The request is validated and queries are sent
  3. Multi-source Response: Data from pharmacies and PBMs is sent
  4. Aggregated Data: Data is aggregated and forwarded to requester

Pharmacy Fill and PBM claims data include:

  • Name of drug
  • Dosage
  • Quantity dispensed
  • Days supply
  • Dispensing pharmacy
  • Phone number of pharmacy
  • Prescription ll date
  • Name of prescribing physician
  • Phone number of prescribing physician

How can my facility access the Medication History services?

Hospitals and other acute care settings interesting in gaining access to this service should contact a technology vendor that has been certified for the service. A list of certified vendors can be found here. If your hospital uses software from Epic, Meditech, or Siemens, contact Surescripts directly to learn more.

How can my facility access Surescripts’ Medication History services?

Hospitals and other acute care settings interesting in gaining access to our services should contact a technology vendor that has been certified for Surescripts’ medication history services. A list of certified vendors can be found here. However, if your hospital uses software from Epic, please contact Surescripts directly to learn more.

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